Wednesday, December 19, 2007

FINAL POST ON STANFORD GSB. Best & not so good of the GSB- Mbwana perspective

This is my final post before I transition this blog- You don't know how hard it is for me to do this- I greatly miss Stanford GSB- best decision I ever made. Anyway, I had been working on this post ever since I graduated and after some pressure to really get something out rather than perfect the post, here it is.


BTW- the blog will transition into technology and management issues in the developing world- namely Africa. All the posts on Stanford GSB will still be available here though.


Graduation Mbwana grad



Fun & Laughter:

This is something that I don't hear many of my classmates say has been a highlight of the GSB experience, maybe its because my aerospace career did not expose me to such fun people, but I have never laughed as much in any other two year period as much as I have at the GSB. Never has a class gone by where the learning has not been entertaining, from a classmate taking risks and making a complete fool of him or herself, to the professor cracking a joke that makes the whole learning experience that much more enjoyable. Now, I will be honest here, I am not one to always be smily all the time, but the GSB really has made me lighten up much more,this could just be the product of the American experience compared to a mainly British up bringing. As a key management learning point, you have to make having fun as part of running an organization these days to get the best out of people- case in point, Southwest Airlines.

Thinking: Going deep and going wide- always open minded
My level of thinking has really expanded beyond what I imagined, the core took me deep into the disciplines of management and electives expanded the mind to areas of fundamental inerest to me that I am only now beginning to comprehend. To illustrate, I returned from Tanga during the summer, a town of my mother's side of the family, whilst there I met  with some Stanford undergraduate students that I had shared an Africa related class with along with a University of Dar es Salaam student. The Stanford students were conducting independent malaria research in the Tanga region for the summer- anyone from Tanzania would tell you that Tanga has some of the nastiest malaria in east africa. Anyway, we had a fantastic discussion and debate about development, entrepreneurship, family business, corruption and the progress of Tanzania like I could never do prior to my Stanford experience ... And I really do mean "Stanford", since the business school alone did not allow me to think more critically about Tanzania development, rather an additional 5 unit course I took on Africa helped me expand core learning and knowledge into another domain, its amazing how well the organizational behavior classes can explain a ton of the government problems as well as issues regarding the scaling of local private enterprises. The discussion was fascinating because it included a deeply local and intelligent perspective from the Dar es Salaam Student- I deeply enjoyed learning from a 3 hour discussion over drinks and felt that I was back in Stanford class- but this time, we were out in the field. What I learnt in my 2 years is really applicable globally and across sectors- you can always learn more from being in the field and seeing how things work in practice- the classroom is also there!

Productivity enhancement:
In the end, an MBA should be a more productive individual than prior to having an MBA- this should definitely justify the salary uplift, I will reveal is that my pay has gone up 4X on a before tax basis, and the ROI including opportunity cost of being out of work for 2 years is substantial.

I will try and argue how the MBA has definitely justified this uplift. Firstly, through my decision making, which has been sharpened, mainly through analytical techniques and frameworks but also being exposed to a constant flow of information with the ability to take what is relevant to a decision at hand. In addition, there are numerous times when decisions have to be made under uncertainty. The amount of cases that we go through at the GSB as well as the diverse viewpoints all contribute to better decision making under many circumstances. Its amazing when the whole class is stumped due to lack of information in the case and the professor is lost for words, but then a classmate pulls through with critical information or viewpoint from an experience that advances the class forward and hence the issue under discussion.

Secondly, I feel I am bolder and more confident to take on risks, a topic I wrote about as a focus of my "What's important to you and Why" essay. In the end, MBAs should be employed to take a risks and push existing organizations to new heights through new ventures. I come against this time and time again as an advisor to family business, if a organization is happy to go on with the status quo there is no MBA needed! Any radical ideas that I present to my father will get turned down because things seem to run fine just as they are- of course, eventually I should be able to make a compelling case for improvements, and this is were organizational behaviour classes particularly will serve me well. This is also were leadership comes in, the GSB experience has left me with a sense of wanting to do more in the world, and believe me, the world expects a lot from an MBA. I recently met with an intern from the UN who is graduate school at Harvard, and within 24 hours, whenever he introduces me to his friends or colleagues- he tags along "... he is the future of Tanzanian business". If I expect so much compensation, surely my level of impact on an organization or society should be matched? And we should have great expectations from MBAs- whether that happens we have to wait and see- watch this space.

Finally, the diverse classmates in every sense of the meaning of diverse has definitely improved my ability to work with others and hence drive agendas and create changes- the GSB forces you to work on many assignments as part of a team, this has definitely helped, but also the out of class socializing, bonding on independent projects definitely helps build a sense of understanding of different cultures and viewpoints. I can now work much better with others, I am more of a team player than before I started at the GSB.



Friends and family sacrifice: This is a big one, I remember attending a Harvard Business School information session when I was deciding on which schools to apply and one of the alumni saying how going to Stanford would be tough because from the perspective of staying in touch with Greenwich Meantime- its an extra 3 hours time difference. I wanted to laugh at such a stupid issue, what's 3 hours more time difference 7 from Tanzania, or 4/5 from UK? The answer, after a 2 years- a heck of a lot! I learnt what it really means to be on the other side of the world- although Silicon Valley is super amazing, flying to and from there from Europe or Africa is a pain. It took me about a week to really get over the jetlag when I go back which does not bode well when I try and return to Tanzania for 1-2 week vacations in future. This all adds up to significant sacrifice of friends and family, the number of important family events including weddings etc... was quite high during the last 2 years. You can never replace a missed wedding. And making up for lost time and connections is time consuming and I feel awful of neglecting really good friends. Part of the challenge of this past summer was balancing meeting new friends, visiting new places and seeing old faces.

Always connected, always marching lifestyle: I am now addicted to my windows smartphone and other classmates their blackberries whatever- I am available on e-mail, IM, cell, skype, facebook and my life was still run on outlook even thought I was not connected on MS Exchange in Tanzania! We live in amazing times, and you won't believe how frustrated I was for my first week back in Tanzania trying to get accustomed to not being always connected (broadband is terrible). The internet has become a life necessity now- a side effect of being more productive is that you are always connected- a friend from the UK who visited me instantly noticed this as I took her round the sights- I really did think she was going to just grab the phone and throw it away. I am now ever so grateful for Zanzibar as an isolated travel niche where I can speak the local language and find total relaxation and I can really put away my phone and be disconnected from e-mail. You also get time to think in between the madness of always being connected.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The end is coming

This last week can only be described as being one of the most hectic. I have been juggling completing final papers and finals, being a host for a friend visiting from UK, arranging moving arrangements to Seattle and not to mention the insane amounts of partying. Having a UK friend visit gives me a chance to re-discover favorite places in California- I am now in San Diego on serious downtime.

"Disorientation" is the right way to describe the current times toward the end of my time of GSB, whether seeing friends on a one to one basis or shaking it at the "End of the World Party" in Atherton.

Next week my friend leaves, step one of my relocation gets under way, and parents arrive for as we head towards graduation. The only cloud on the horizon seems to be this Optional Practical Training /Employment Authorization Document (OPT/EAD)- very few international students who filed after end of March have received these essential documents that allows one to work... I am praying the documents get sent out before I fly out of the country.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

New venture watch...

photo source

The room next door to me at my Palo Alto home, sleeps an MBA who has been EXTREMELY busy in the last couple of months, whilst I have been ramping down. I feel so bad for not blogging about this earlier... But today is great news for a Stanford team consisting of MBA, engineering and design school  students pursuing the entrepreneurial dream.

D.light design, a team that includes my room-mate and another Stanford MBA just secured $250,000 prize from the DFJ venture competition. The team is a for profit venture introducing a low cost LED light for the poor in the developing world intended to replace kerosene and those out of reach of an electric grid. 

As some of you know about the funding process, you shop your idea around the valley for ages and then once you get that initial funding, everyone wants to participate! This is an interesting space, I am of course very interested in this area as it's making money by creating real value for the developing world.

The venture is a result of strong collaborative nature at Stanford between engineering, design  and the business schools through some really great classes- the one that comes to mind is the increasingly popular design for extreme affordability class.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Its not over till its over...

So I am trying to ramp down my time here at the GSB by shifting to more time with friends and enjoying California weather- but the GSB refuses to do so, a full quarter is a full quarter, and by no means dull. This last week a case in point, some big events that just showcase the diversity of learning and opportunity at the GSB that leave me hungry for more.

- Wednesday I ended up going to 4 dinners including a small yet informative Africa Business Club event with one of my Nigerian classmates' brother. Tope Lawani, founder of Helios investment partners a $300 million fund, came in to talk about his foray into Private Equity investment in Africa and had some great insights on the challenges and opportunities of private equity in the region- not surprisingly, real estate, travel/transportation and telecommunications are hot sectors- deal making infrastructure (lawyers) and exits (capital markets, willing buys etc...) amongst the things that make the business environment tough to handle for an investor coming in from more developed markets.
- Thursday was another treat in the Private Equity arena, with the founder of Carlyle, David Rubenstein, giving a highly entertaining yet serious overview of Private Equity and technology buyouts- I remember him saying that Microsoft and other visible tech giants such as HP and SUN may become buyout targets someday as the funds get larger and larger.
Later that afternoon, I headed down to San Francisco for the Facebook f8 launch, a developers conference/codejam. It was great to see some of my classmates in action outside the classroom- one a full-time employee of facebook coordinating the event, and even some getting their hands dirty trying to build applications for this, one of the hottest social networks today. Interestingly enough, we are doing facebook as a case in my aligning startup class on Tuesday, and the case was updated TODAY to reflect the major milestone of facebook opening its platform- a great example of how fast GSB academics catches up with the reality of business!
I then darted into the mission district for a the Africa Business Club dinner I had organized at the Bissap Baobab, with great turnout- I was nervous that given multiple events happening, there would be a high flake rate (typical of busy GSB students), but it turned out very well, with one female club member turning up in a full Ugandan outfit!
- Friday, was my usual classes on Supply Chain and Advertising- at the end of the day, I went up to Marin for a local entrepreneur and Stanford professor's engagement party which was particularly fun. I mentioned long ago, that one of my goals for my experience here at Stanford is to make close friends with real live entrepreneurs and engineers in the bay area beyond meeting them in the class-room environment- I am more than happy with this decision at the expense of more GSB events, I have now made real good friends in the local area that have been invaluable and have completed my California experience- I'll have more reasons to come back to California other than GSB alumni events or work purposes.

This memorial day weekend, the partying and catching up continues- will try and get major bits of work out the way, to clear a runway to enjoy my last 2 weeks at the GSB.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The UK trip... back in Silicon Valley- perspective forever changed.

The final month of my time at Stanford is here, and I'm trying my best to give my time to friends, academics and a number of errands (graduation arrangement for my parents and siblings flying in from Tanzania). But first, a quick reflection on my UK trip, I hadn't been back for 2 years and my tour included my university town, Bristol, where a lot of my friends from uni still work and of course, London. Aside from enjoying the pub culture over the weekend, it was interesting to see how optimistic I sounded over the more conservative and risk averse brit friends of mine over entrepreneurship. The change at Stanford in perspective is definitely permanent...
A nice piece here on this very thing from a class mate who has been writing a Stanford diary on the Financial Times.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Final class is looking like the allstar finale...

I walked into today's new class that starts midquarter (2 units)- "Aligning startups to their market", lead by Andy Rachcleff of Benchmark Capital. And I felt an amazing feeling- the class consisted of individuals that I could see have taken an amazing journey over the last 2 years- starting with the rigors of the core, fine tuning their way through the GSB to an entrepreneurship class taught by a practitioner in venture capital. I remember how I was so gun-ho about trying to get into consulting- but here I am, such a big proponent to entrepreneurship and risk taking... Looking back, it makes a lot of sense, kid from Africa, sent to school in UK at age 12, delivers results that satisfy parents, goes to work for a comfy aerospace company yet organizes random internal expedition to climb the highest mountain in Africa with 24 people doing it for the good of his country's education- then applies to school in a fantasy land that he has never even been to while his colleagues and friends look the other way... It's not surprising, that my final class is one on maximizing the success of risky ventures.

Some of my classmates have launched some interesting ventures:
Techtain- social networking meets swapping/trade objects on campus.
Reputation defender- In the world of blogging, social networks, wikis etc... what some call the "participation" phase of the net- a way to ensure your online reputation is sound has become increasingly important- these guys will help you out in a similar method to maintaining your credit report- enough said.
Trippert- A better way to research a travel destination through rich articles- I think of this one as social networks/wikis meets lonely planet.

I am heading out to UK tomorrow for a few days- I'm dying to see friends and colleagues that I have been out of touch with for 2 years! They'll think I've changed- beginning with my accent.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Business of Space- reflecting on independent projects

One of the nice things about the GSB when you are coming out of the 1st year core is the independence you get to explore new ideas in projects. Last year around this time, I was in full swing in doing G390 independent project on the emerging entrepreneurial Space industry. The idea was that I could apply my 1st year business knowledge with my experience in aerospace industry in previous life. We worked with a former NASA Director and now part of the leadership of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) based right here in Menlo Park/Palo Alto.In a team consisting of MBA1, MBA2 and Sloan with aerospace backgrounds in public and private sectors from Israel, NASA, UK and Russia we interviewed some new space entrepreneurs including Elon Musk of SpaceEx.
I carried this on with a Mobile Marketing independent project last quarter that also went great.

An interesting podcast for further information is available here from the BBC's In Business program.
I'll post an update here later on the report that was the deliverable of the project.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Parties abound, GSB show is coming... the update.

With Admit weekend and C4C behind us, recruiting for 1st years almost complete and 2nd year's winding down- parties are emerging all over the place around the GSB community, this weekend will feature a large 2nd year house party in Palo Alto,"Cabin 552", on Friday, Spring Formal at Bimbos in San Francisco on Saturday. On top of that, multiple dinner parties are being thrown- the house I live in has doubled its number of parties for the entire year in just week- and there's one coming up this Sunday. Its going to be tough finding time to hang out with my friends in Silicon Valley who are outside the GSB. I can expect a fun sprint finish to the end of my time at the GSB. I'm looking forward to "Disorientation" week, sandwiched between last day of classes and graduation day, where second years will bond and party for one last time- including drinks and dinners organized by different ways imaginable (sections for the core, destination cities after graduation etc...). Other events happening? The GSB show is on next week- a truly specular show of talent within the GSB. Who said MBAs don't party?

Here is the evidence:


GSB SHOW 2006- Mock Interview- My personal favorite!

GSB SHOW 2006- 4

GSB CRIBS- This is how we roll at GSB!

GSB SHOW 2006- Mid-term Capital Management

UCLA CHEER LEADING @ C4C WEEKEND 2007(Stanford 2006 here)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A post for aspiring young MBAs

A popular post on this blog I wrote in my 1st year. I got interviewed in January by MBA Podcaster about being a "younger MBA"... (I come on around 10 mins into the podcast) Ha, I wish i could do the MBA all over again- after all, I'm about the average to apply now.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The case for off-grid power in Tanzania

...more than USD1bn was immediately needed to lessen power transmission losses now estimated at within the range of 27 percent of total electricity generation.

Some long-time readers of this blog will remember my frustrations with the energy infrastructure in Tanzania. The situation does not seem to be improving anytime soon- so much that I am seriously exploring the economics of implementing off-grid power such as solar to complement the diesel generators we use in the family business for real-estate projects... If you haven't noticed- there's currently a Green craze in the US and most definitely at Stanford GSB- I am now tapping into this knowledge from classmates before graduation.

Speaking of Green- I am off to Yosemite this weekend to enjoy the glorious Spring- should be fun.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

India & startups...Never a better time?

One of the most common things you hear as an MBA about making the tradeoff between joining an established company versus a startup is that although the upside risk is substantial for a startup, be prepared for a low salary and forgoing a cushy lifestyle in as well as accept the high possibility of outright failure.

My room-mate challenged this notion when he told me this morning that there has never been a better time for an MBA to returning to Indian to join a startup then now. Apparently salaries are 50% higher than the safe corporate job due to lack of talented managers to grow startups- this is the opposite to the US. You also have the upside of options and equity stake as large as 5% coming in as a non-founder with an MBA. Many accomplished Indian serial entrepreneurs from silicon valley are making their way back to India, with their experience and ability to get VC funding further reducing risks of joining a startup. Combined with even lower risk of transferring an established idea to a new market with potential such as India, it seems that startups might be compelling for Indians wanting to return home. Goodbye to brain drain? You see, people eventually do return home... I'd love this to happen to East Africa in the next 25 years.

UPDATE: A reminder what can happen if luck is on your side:

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What kind of company makes me excited?

Companies that utilize technology to provide a social good in Africa tackling fundamental problems and have potential to make a ton of money...
I came across Voxiva, a company that's providing solutions in healthcare from clinical trials to epidemic monitoring for NGOs with people out in the field, combining the reach of cell phones and power of internet.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

C4C is on… International student apathy.

The Challenge 4 Charity (C4C) is taking place in Stanford this weekend; this is an annual fundraiser which brings together business schools along the West coast down to our campus to compete in various fun sports. For Stanford students, requirements to participate in all the events is about 6 hours of volunteer and charity work . The event is well attended, except many international students, like myself, choose to increasingly ignore large events like this. I don't know what it is, but there has always been a international vs domestic student split- for me the reason is clear, spend more time with friends I don't see very often outside the b-school. Many think that you give up your social life to b-school throughout your MBA, this is very true in the first year, but for me and many international students, I decided enough is enough with GSB events- I attend the ones I enjoy and not every single one for the sake of participation. Now I heard C4C is a great party scene, particularly as it involves multiple business schools, I would love to attend- but I did not do my hours- you can't have it all!

Friday, April 20, 2007

CEOs make excellent Business School Professors…

I hardly ever talk about what goes on in class, but I feel the class I had on Monday was a great example of the value of having a CEO as someone to teach and facilitate a class discussion. For my Supply Strategy & Factor markets class, we have the pleasure of having Michael Marks, former CEO of Flextronics and a partner at the private equity firm KKR. On Monday, we tackled Microsoft's entry in the video game console market, with the case being taught from the perspective of the contract manufacturer, Flextronics. Firstly, the energy Michael Marks generated within the class was pretty phenomenal, as well as clearly articulating the tradeoffs and issues involved in the case and constantly putting students on the spot. It was one of those rare moments when I suddenly felt how finance, marketing, accounting, human resources, strategy, organizational behavior as well as other areas such as sales and global management all come alive in an hour and half class.

I am looking forward to covering the X-Box case again in a few weeks, this time from the Microsoft angle to get the other side of this market entry. story.

Monday, April 16, 2007


This blog is corrupted or something- Google seems to have confused my various accounts as well as the migration from an old blogger account- as a result have lost posts from September 2006. Hopefully Google will do something about it and recover my posts- temporary suspension of blogging until resolve the issue. Apologies...

UPDATE: Recovered posts and blog layout- thanks to Google search cached webpages... Will resume blogging.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Stanford Cool Products Expo is on! ***100th Post***- commitment to accelerate blogging to 200!

The Stanford cool product Expo is now on- showcasing some companies' new products as well as startups, not to mention some classmates who have been working hard on projects that are on the verge of becoming becoming fully fledged startups. I received questions from a reader asking about startup support at the GSB- well here is a clear example- apart from the Stanford GSB Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, visiting venture capitalist in academics, business plan competitions etc..., the cool products expo allows Stanford students to showcase their products to the world.

This is my 100th blog post, and I can't believe its been this long, I started this blog the day I got accepted into Stanford GSB about 2 years ago, and its now time to think about the direction of this blog...
I will make one commitment to my readers- I will accelerate the pace of blogging and try to add another 100 posts by mid September. What has happened is that I was excited during the lead up to starting my MBA which lead to 1-2 posts a week, then this inevitably slowed down as I got much busier in recruiting, academics during the core of the MBA. Now that I am reflecting on the MBA experience more as well and things start to slow down, I will accelerate the blogs to 3-5 posts a week to reach my goal of an addition 100 posts my mid September. Some posts will inevitably be shorter, but will ensure that I try and provide in-depth analysis/viewpoint often rather then letting this become a ticker news feed of my GSB experience.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Visa woes continue...

It looks like I was right to be if a little worried about my visa status going forward- particularly on the H1-B application front. Apparently 150,000 applications were received with a cap limit of 60,000. So there's a 60% chance of not getting the H1-B status. At least the Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows a Master's student to work for a year following graduation, is going well- got a biometric interview tomorrow at 10am for that, which means missing class- I hate missing class!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Can't get enough of San Francisco

Spring break for many GSBers has meant exotic far flung visits to destinations including Brazil, Hawaii, and even Mexico and East Africa study trips. I've stayed put enjoying the bay area and specifically hanging out with friends- with just 3 months till graduation do I now begin to fully find my way around the city. I attended a great business plan competition last night at the University of San Francisco- it involved 2 minute elevator pitches from business school students across the globe- very exciting to watch with social networking, biotech and cleantech sectors well represented.
Additionally I'm starting to engage myself with project work at pixpulse (, a mobile media platform start-up. With only 10 GSB units needed next quarter to graduate equating to about 2.5 classes, and a long awaited trip back to UK planned in May, I think I should finally be able to start meaningful work on my mobile ambitions in Africa prior to joining Microsoft. Speaking of which, they just sent me my welcome gift- windows vista ultimate and office 2007 standard (+ ultimate from my team)- my computer has a new life! Although I do plan to get an apple macbook pro + iphone come this summer- no I'm not a traitor, it just works for me for consumer device connectivity & creative works.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Winter Quarter in Summary...

This has been a surprisingly busy quarter, particularly the dash towards the end where I embarked on a no. of trips.

Within the GSB, I took Competitive Strategy, Strategic Management of Non-Profits and Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital. Across the street I took a class on Africa- Health, Land and Education. I also undertook a fascinating independent team study on mobile marketing. The guests kept me thrilled in both the VC and Non-profits class- I saw these classes as extensions of Formation of New ventures I took in he Fall quarter- just being inspired by different ideas and personalities out there in business. The competitive strategy class had a fascinating simulation game where each team had to decide market entry strategies, capacity and pricing tactics as well as amusing press releases to signal to other players one's intentions OR not! The Africa class was a welcome relief from the GSB format, and I enjoyed sharing and collaborating with students from education and biology fields on the challenges confronting Africa- definitely some valuable contacts for the future when I'm back in Tanzania.
Personally, fatigue during classes started to creep in, I will admit that this is the quarter where I really started to feel the "senioritis" creep in- in essence, my participation and contribution in classes dropped, and I had some study groups that did not work out so smoothly- and I really begun to doubt the logic of a two year MBA- it gets tiring!


Ok- I know I said I signed with Microsoft, but there's a ton of stuff that's occupying my mind including sorting out my visa status moving forward as I transition from F1 (student) to H1-B. In turns out this is not as simple as it seems, especially if one plans to travel over the summer as I do. The problem arises in getting back into the US in September, where apparently the immigration officers might see me as under "dual intent" immigration status which is a big no-no. Without boring you with more details, lets just say this is occupying too much of my mindshare- Microsoft lawyers/recruiters think I'm freaking out unnecessarily- lets hope so.
On the long-term career planning, I've also been developing my knowledge and connections in the area of mobile technologies and social communities/networks, this has tied in nicely with the independent project I am doing. Mobile is an area that I want to engage in future, within Microsoft and in a future start-up career, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. I recall a great meeting with the CEO and founder of Admob, which was insightful as to where the future of mobile is heading. Other interesting developments include- "m-banking", this is another top tip of a disruptive technology that has the potential to transform Africa- check out this innovative offering, from wizzit in South Africa.

Trips & stuff!

Ahh- I am starting to enjoy myself a bit more, with recruiting out of the way, I spent time in San Diego, tried my hand in snowboarding at Lake Tahoe (finally! Lake Tahoe is a GSB time honored activity- and I had to go atleast once!). The highlight was definitely the Las Vegas career trek organized by the Travel and Hospitality club- it was simply amazing, once in a lifetime trip! We got incredible access to casino security camera rooms, priceless suites, meeting with top executives from the Wynn and Venetian. I certainly see Las Vegas in a different light moving forward and learnt some valuable lessons on the meaning of customer service in the travel and hospitality industry.
I was not happy that I missed the Africa Business Club conference at Harvard Business School- thanks to stormy winter weather on the east Coast and flight cancellations- hey, aren't I glad I am in California!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The web has come a long way...

Interesting video that describes how far we have come...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Game over, Microsoft here I come...

So its time to break the news- I have signed on with Microsoft for a full-time role as a product manager in the Office Enterprise division where I interned last summer. Without going deep into the factors that made me decide, I will say that lifestyle made was a major influence in the decision:

Factors considered:
- I am passionate and have always loved technology- and the opportunity to marry this up with business in an organization that is balanced in engineering vs marketing.
- Ability to move around not only core software, but emerging media and consumer electronics product areas.
- Work with truly smart, driven, diverse people not only composed of type A personalities.
- Seattle area as an emerging areas for non-profits (another passionate area)- I will be able to give back to communities, including work on Africa related projects.
- Seattle as a great area to live, yet not quite being too far away from Silicon Valley and rest of California.

My life at business school has now changed! No more recruiting has opened me up to do a lot more within the GSB community. I am also spending considerable time building relationships with entrepreneurs in the valley.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Meanwhile, back on the other side of the world...

Happy New Year everyone!
Its great to be back at Stanford after a much needed rest. Although I am excited to be back in California, half my mind is still in Tanzanian. Firstly, I should mention how proud I am to be Tanzania right now since the appointment of the new deputy of the UN Secretary General- Dr Asha-Rose Migiro. She is also the first woman to hold the post. Finally, I think Tanzania may finally stand out on to the map!

It is worth mentioning my last trip within Tanzania to visit my grandfather- at the age of 85, he runs a small drug store/pharmacy at a coastal town in the north of Tanzania. In discussing with him, he outlined his plans to open up a small clinic and healthcare training center as an extension of the shop on a micro-scale, focusing specifically on quick diagnosis and clinical tests. This struck me as very innovative, as it strives to tackle the stark lack of available and affordable healthcare in rural areas. Often the sick will travel miles only to be misdiagnosed by a busy and overstretched doctor- the results are often fatal, as everyone is "assumed" to have a case of malaria, when it could be something else.
I returned to the GSB within 3 days to attend a meeting where there is a huge effort to build a healthcare worker training center in Tanzania that will effectively double the no. of healthcare workers in Tanzania. Question is, after that where will they be deployed? In the already over-crowded hospitals in urban centers? What about rural areas? It turns out, the idea my granddad stumbled on is a concept in micro-franchising- known as "CFWshops". It is clear in my mind that just as microfinance is revolutionizing credit in the developing world- the concept of micro-clinics/drugs stores in rural will have a huge impact.